Probe into cause of Canaries cruise ship deaths | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.02.2013
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Probe into cause of Canaries cruise ship deaths

Investigators have been trying to determine the causes of an accident that left five crew members aboard a British-operated cruise ship dead. The fatalities occurred after a lifeboat fell into the sea.

The lifeboat aboard the ship, operated by the holiday firm Thompson Cruises, fell upside down into the sea on Sunday at Santa Cruz on the island of La Palma.

"A lifeboat with occupants had fallen overboard from a cruise ship docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma," a regional government statement said.

Three of the dead were Indonesian men, one was a Filipino and another was a man from Ghana, authorities said. Three injured men were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Thomson Cruises confirmed the accident and the casualties.

"We are working closely with the ship owners and managers, Louis Cruises, to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected by the incident," said the company in a statement.

The Canary Islands port authority said a cable had snapped during a drill that involved the lowering of a lifeboat with crew members. A hook securing a second cable to the boat had also given way.

The ship had been due to depart for Madeira, with 1,498 passengers and 594 crew aboard, the authority said.

Britain's Marine Accident Investigation Branch said safety tests on lifeboats are a significant source of accidents.

rc/ccp (AP, dpa, Reuters)